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Renaissance Age of Puppetry?

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by D'Snowth, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Lately, I've been thinking.

    On TV Tropes, there's a page about the Renaissance Age of Animation, which pretty much goes into detail about how animation was really booming from an artistic and a business standpoint in the 80s and 90s, what with the influx of animated features (especially with the works of Don Bluth), to the sudden explosion in successful animated series for syndication and cable (which pretty much everybody my age and generation grew up with).

    Anyway, Muppets aside, puppetry has always been considered and underrated and underappreciated artform, but I've noticed (and wrote about this on my Scarblog a while back) that puppetry in general seems to be really hot right now, what with popular network series seemingly having an all (or mostly) puppet episode once a season, to commercials using puppets for mascots (Lending Tree with Len and Lenny anybody?) Not only that, but ever since YouTube came a long years ago, I can tell you that puppet webvideos and weboriginals have not been uncommon either (I can name myself, Kevin, Julio, Colbynfriends, Oscarfan, and CaseytheMuppet as just a few of the MCers who have shared our puppetry originals on YouTube during the late 2000s and early New Tens).

    And now with Disney finally doing more with the Muppets on top of all this, it's really got me to thinking that we're going through something of a Renaissance Age of Puppetry right now as well. Don't you think?
    Muppetlab likes this.
  2. Oscarfan

    Oscarfan Well-Known Member

    There's SkippyShorts on YT (which started in 2006-ish), which is a hilarious puppet series that hasn't done anything lately. But their old stuff is beautiful.
  3. DerpSandwich

    DerpSandwich Active Member

    The last few years have definitely seen a resurgence, but I would have to say the seventies and eighties, or Jim's biggest years, were the real puppetry renaissance. That was when it really broke out and he revolutionized the whole thing, basically building what we're all standing on today.

    This recent puppet kick America seems to be on feels a little less genuine to me. It's more like people just like seeing puppets in little bits here and there, rather than devoting themselves to actual puppet content. Puppet-themed episodes of popular shows and puppet characters in commercials are common, but it doesn't feel like there's any substance to me. It's like puppetry as a deeper art died off again when Jim died. I think it can come back, but I don't think it has yet. Not until we get real content that's more than just lightly amusing and tongue-in-cheek "hey look, it's puppets!" kind of stuff.

    There are a lot of people doing puppetry on Youtube, but I actually see very little stuff of consistence and quality. Glove and Boots is pretty much the only show I can think of that's currently popular and making a lot of videos. I want to see that change.
    Jinx likes this.
  4. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Puppetry's always been around, and never really went away at any point in the last 100 years. You can point to any decade and there are lots of examples of puppetry - for adults and kids a like - being very successful.

    I do think there's a greater awareness of puppetry today because of high profile things like War Horse, The Lion King on Broadway, etc. and a lot of filmmakers and theatre artists are more willing to incorporate puppetry in to their work (like the "puppet episodes" of TV shows that keep popping up).

    No disrespect DerpSandwich, but I think you're very wrong about there being no work of substance. There's a ridiculous amount of great work on YouTube (and everywhere else) if you know where to look. Not all of it is Muppet-style web series or TV shows though.

    For the past ten years I've written a blog called PuppetVision about puppetry from all over the world, nearly every single post either has videos or links to videos. Browse it at PuppetvisionMovie.com (look under "categories" for specific types of puppetry) and I really think you might discover some work that has substance that you might enjoy.
  5. DerpSandwich

    DerpSandwich Active Member

    I'll definitely admit that I'm coming from more of the Henson-style angle with my previous comment, which in that regard I feel still stands. Other forms of puppetry unfortunately don't often interest me too much, but you're probably right when considering the art as a whole. (Coming into conversations it's hard for me to remember that other types of puppetry exist, haha.) The internet and the plummeting costs of video production have done wonders for this sort of thing.

    Great blog, by the way! Bookmarking it for sure! :)
  6. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member


    You are right that there is not so much hand and rod, "Muppet style" stuff on TV which really is a shame. There is still a lot of great stuff in the UK. Look up Hacker and Dodge, performed by Phil Fletcher and BlueFrackle Brownlow-Pike, who are/were members of the forum. Intended for kids, but they have a lot of adult fans. Brilliant stuff!
  7. crazy chris

    crazy chris Well-Known Member

    "Pancake Manor" on youtube has a huge following... although its geared for kids... it has its moments... the music is fantastic... im so jealous! hee hee

  8. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

  9. DerpSandwich

    DerpSandwich Active Member

    Good find! I like this!
  10. DerpSandwich

    DerpSandwich Active Member

    Oh yeah, I've seen those guys. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I'll agree with you that the music is fantastic.

    You've got some great stuff yourself though! I can't wait to see more content! I'm just now starting up my own show (should probably put it in my quote or something) and I love seeing other peoples'. And it's awesome that you've got the one Jarrod Boutcher puppet with the horns, because I remember seeing that guy on eBay and thinking how awesomely he was designed! XD
  11. crazy chris

    crazy chris Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much Derp!! Yeah i was so happy to get my hand on one of Jarrods puppets! Excited to see what you have in store for us!!

  12. crazy chris

    crazy chris Well-Known Member

  13. crazy chris

    crazy chris Well-Known Member

    I find it so sad that some of the best puppet content has very minimal views... we sorta have to do it for the love and hope for the best...

    Another highly entertaining puppet channel that doesnt get the love it deserves is Puppets n Sh*t ...

  14. DerpSandwich

    DerpSandwich Active Member

    He does phenomenal work. I scored one of his eBay puppets for a stupidly low price some time back. He was just one of the best characters I'd ever seen, I had to have him the second I saw him. I owe Jarrod a followup purchase one of these days for sure.

    Alright, I wanted to hold off on the linking until I had more content, but now the conversation demands it! Haha. Here's the puppet I bought. (Halfway through is a custom-built puppet from James Kemp, another AMAZING builder.)

  15. crazy chris

    crazy chris Well-Known Member


  16. crazy chris

    crazy chris Well-Known Member

    Side note: i wrote a hiccup bit for one of our future skits... please please dont think i plagerized...hee hee :D

  17. DerpSandwich

    DerpSandwich Active Member

    Haha, no worries there. Hiccups are just funny!

    And thanks! :)
    crazy chris likes this.
  18. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Aw gee, I just realized that the guy who did those CheekTV YouTube videos back in the day has taken all of them down, which is a shame, because they wre always really funny and the parodies he did were clever.
  19. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Here's a new commercial that features puppetry:

    Matter of fact, Krystal has a series of commercials like this right now.
  20. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

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